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Bill Gates Contributes Grant Money To Microfinance Institutions

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is contributing nearly $40 million in business grant funding to help leading microfinance institutions (MFIs) offer their clients safe and affordable places to save money.

MFIs, if you didn't know, are organizations that offer financial services to very poor citizens in countries such as Bangladesh, India, Brazil, Ethiopia, and more.

Several of the grants will help the institutions expand their portfolios and make savings accounts available to more than 11 million people.

Also, because banks are not located in remote areas in many countries - at least one grant award will focus on agent banking, mobile banks, and access to savings accounts over mobile phones.

Other grants will enable the institutions to send employees out on motorbikes with handheld PDAs to travel to clients in outlying communities.

Other problems to be addressed with the funding include insufficient staffing, poor marketing strategies, and lack of financial education.

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